AT A time when India has taken a firm stand at the Paris climate summit that developed nations cannot expect a still developing India to shoulder the burden of reducing emissions, Union Woman and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has said that India, as one of the main contributors to the global warming, needs to do much more.
Blaming the Chennai floods on climate change, Maneka, known for her environmental activism, told NDTV in an interview that the fact that “historically the polluters have been the West doesn’t absolve India from the fact that it is today one of the major polluters”.
“It is a question of putting the blame always… the West did it. They may have done it hundred years ago. India is one of the main players destroying the climate. We, China and Brazil are the largest producers of methane. Coal, animals and rice, these are the three reasons for methane and methane is 26 per cent more powerful than carbon dioxide in creating climate change,” she said.
Responding to the Indian government’s stand that the country has lower CO2 emissions, Maneka said, “Rubbish. We said that in Montreal protocol and we have been saying that for 50 years. And in the meantime we go on and on and on.”
She added that over the next 10 years incidents, like what is happening in Chennai, will be more frequent. “In Chennai, of course its climate warming, the moment you have weather change and you have even a one degree difference, it will rain more and more and more.” Stressing on the need to gear up, she said, “Nobody has connected climate change with economic disaster. Everybody thinks we can do wonderful things economically but with climate change, kabhi kabhi baarish aayegi (there might be occasional rains).”
She added that the repercussions of climate change is already visible in the fact that farmers are suffering, dal prices have shot up to Rs 200 per kg, everybody in Chennai is down under and nobody in Delhi can breathe easy.